Writing Sample: Helping Busy Educators Understand the Latest Release

LynneBlaszakUsing technical release notes, I created customer-friendly messaging to update our educator community on changes to the K–8 online Reading and Math program i-Ready. Copy needed to be scannable, clear, concise, and enjoyable. I also selected the screenshots and wrote the label copy.

“My only comment is I loved reading this—major kudos to whoever came up with such punchy prose!” —Supervising Producer, i-Ready


More brand new, built-from-scratch lessons are live for K–2 readers!

The arrival of 76 new Reading lessons—37 on Phonological Awareness (K–1) and 39 on High-Frequency Words (K–2)—adds to our full-scale refresh of the K–2 foundational skills curriculum in under a year. Suffice to say, our product development team is exhilarated: We can’t wait for beginning readers to get going with this new material, which benefited from the latest findings in reading research and the extensive, hands-on testing we did with students.

Here are some screens from the new lessons:

A new approach gets kids answering right away: When we talked to and observed kids, we learned they want to interact earlier in their online lessons. In fact, answering an opening question incorrectly often increased their engagement.

In the new lessons, students complete an activity first thing, and the lesson responds dynamically to the results: wrong answers prompt explicit, targeted instruction to improve understanding, and correct answers bypass instruction and prompt further practice of that skill. That means these lessons are especially efficient with students’ time, quickly assessing their needs to guide them to deeper instruction or practice as needed.


And speaking of i-Ready lessons . . .

Extra, Extra! Older Flash-based lessons now labeled “Extra”: As we transition to HTML, we have a growing list of older, Flash-based lessons available for assigning as Extra Lessons, but no longer used in the automated learning path. Educators can now easily identify these lessons when adding Extra Lessons: look for the new label “(Extra)” in the Level column, and note these lessons are available through July 2018.

Close Reading lessons: Same text, less time! Based on educator feedback, we’ve edited more than half of the Grades 3–5 Close Reading lessons to reduce duration by about 20 minutes each. The texts used for these lessons are unchanged.


Time on Task: Things just got Real

The wait is over! Time on Task data is now updated in real time on the Class Instructional Usage Report. Monitoring students’ “Week to Date” time on task is a great way to ensure students meet their usage targets and get the most out of instruction. Previously this information was updated nightly, which meant that totals always reflected usage through the previous day. As of this release, Time on Task is updated in real time, so it reflects the latest, up-to-the-second usage data every time you look at it. Go ahead—get your students started on i-Ready, and then refresh the Class Instructional Usage report a couple times and watch the numbers change!

As a reminder, Time on Task is recorded when students are actively working on an i-Ready lesson. That means none of the following count toward Time on Task: logging in, taking assessments (i.e., i-Ready Diagnostic, Growth Monitoring, and Standards Mastery), exploring the Student Dashboard, playing games, and becoming idle. For further details about how i-Ready computes Time on Task, log a couple minutes viewing this handy Cheat Sheet: Understanding Time on Task.

Can students keep track of their own Time on Task? Not yet, but we’re working on it! Look for this feature in an upcoming release.


My Buddy has a first name . . . and it’s P-L-O-R-Y!

Improved buddy selection: Student study buddies appear throughout i-Ready, guiding students through what to do next and cheering their accomplishments. To select or change their buddy, students click their name to access the student dashboard. This release features some enhancements to the buddy selection process:


Teacher requests for last year’s data? They’re history.

We now provide two Reports that show historical student performance data: In April, we told you about the new class-level Student Performance Report, which equips teachers with a snapshot of a given class’s i-Ready Diagnostic and instruction data from the previous academic year.

Today we’re announcing a new student-level Performance Report, which adds more to the (back) story: access this report for a deeper dive into individual student data, including 1) overall scale scores, overall placements, and domain placements for every Diagnostic the student took last year and 2) number of lessons completed, pass rate, and total time on task for every domain they studied.

Take a look!

To run the reports, go to the Reports tab, then the Class Reports sub-tab, and click on “Student Performance” under the new menu item “Previous Academic Year.”


An animated “nudge” to keep students clicking

We want to be sure students make the most of their time in i-Ready by moving efficiently through their assessments and lessons. Now, i‑Ready students who have been idle for 20 seconds on the student dashboard get an animated “nudge” to prompt re-engagement. Additional pages with this functionality include the subject selection page, various error pages, and the lesson pause and lesson results screens. The “My Stuff” page nudges students after 30 seconds.


New Games! Send your students off on a Galaxy Sprint.

As you know, students earn 20 credits for each lesson they pass in i-Ready. Credits resemble a gold coin, and students redeem them to play a short game of their choosing (cost: 50 credits) that whisks them off on a mini-adventure far away from Math and Reading.

Three new games available via Computer, Chromebook, and iPad: With this release, students have access to three fun new games: Galaxy Sprint, Wizard Pinball, and Dig Site. Encourage your kids to give them a try, and consider reminding them that passing lessons is the only way to earn i-Ready credits. (We promise to return students to their learning in short order! All games last a maximum of four minutes.)

This is our first crop of games supported by iPad, and this addition brings the total number of available i-Ready games to eight. Here’s what they look like:


“Hmmmm. Looks like there’s a problem here.”

Like most everything else on the internet, i-Ready lessons occasionally encounter an error. To help students know what to do when this happens, we’ve tweaked the error page they see. As shown below, students are now encouraged to click on the arrow button before asking their teacher for help. In most cases, this will take them back to the student dashboard where they can resume the lesson.


iPad users with SAML SSO: Go ahead, forget your i-Ready password.

If your school uses a portal with SAML single sign-on, students will no longer be prompted to log in using i-Ready credentials when accessing the i-Ready Standards Mastery app on iPad. Just make sure your students are using the Safari browser when they log in to their school portal.

iPad® is a registered trademark of Apple Inc. App Store℠ is a service mark of Apple Inc.


That’s it from us! We hope you enjoy these improvements.

Until next time,
The Team at i-Ready